In 2014, Portland's hip-hop community was struggling. Years of issues between the city and music community had resulted in a stagnant scene with few opportunities for local artists to perform. Blake Hickman, formerly of KPSU and XRAY.FM, connected with myself and Mac Smiff of We Out Here Magazine, to set out to create a monthly event showcasing Portland's hip-hop talent. We wanted fresh lineups with new artists and established veterans occupying the same bill. We wanted performers to take chances and bring something unique to every show. December 7 at Kelly's Olympian, the Thesis will be celebrating 3 incredible years of shows in Portland with a blow out line up with some of our favorite artists from over the years. Here's a look at 5 of my favorite sets of the first three years of the Thesis. — DJ Verbz.
Myke Bogan (April 2015)
Just a few months into our run as the Thesis, [WW contributor] Blake Hickman brought up the idea of throwing a party on the Portland Spirit. Myke Bogan brought that extra element that made it the most memorable night yet. Between his pirate hat and fake parrot and the raucous party that ensued, this is the set that let me know we had something special.
Cassow (Jan. 2016)
Cassow was one of the first artists to come to us with a true vision. His set brought together an array of flashing lights and fog, with interludes and tonal shifts corresponding to colors. He brought a professional energy we've tried to impart on all performers since.
Mic Capes (March 2017)
In 2017, we teamed up with MOGO Fest, a music festival focusing on artists from all around Oregon. We were asked to curate two shows, so we dreamed big. For our first showcase at Star Theater, we wanted an artist that truly represented Portland, and no one does that better than Mic Capes. With a packed house, Capes smashed his set with awesome guests and a commanding performance. Northside really did come up.
The Last Artful, Dodgr (Dec. 2016)
Some of our best shows were created out of chaos. After losing our headliner for our second anniversary last-minute, we called in a hired gun. Dodgr comes to steal any show she is on. A magnetic performer with the confidence of a queen, she had the crowd eating up her every word.
Donte Thomas (Oct. 2016)
One of the highlights of the Thesis has been watching young artists grow and find themselves. Donte Thomas turned his set into a community event, with a mass of special guests including some of his STRAY compatriots and other Portland staples. He took his first-ever headlining show and turned it into a celebration of Portland hip-hop.
SEE IT: The Thesis Third Anniversary Show is at Kelly's Olympian, 426 SW Washington St., with Ty Farris and Trox, Kung Foo Grip, Cool Nutz and more, on Thursday, Dec. 7. 9 pm. Free. 21+.